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Lifehacks vs hackers: how to send emails and messages safely

By sending messages to other people, we take risks every time. Hackers don't need to hack your phone to steal data. They can intercept messages and hack into other people's devices. If you use e-mail, there is one way to protect your personal correspondence: to make it unreadable. USA Today Understood encryption and offers solutions.

Фото: Depositphotos

Imagine if hackers could see everything you do on the Internet, every account name and password. All this data is transmitted through a router (router), so you need to make sure that they are not compromised. To do this, you need to check if your device is hacked.

One of the most powerful hacking protection is called end-to-end encryption. Encryption is a safe way to protect your conversations. Even if a hacker intercepts them, he sees nothing but gibberish. End-to-end means that messages remain encrypted, regardless of who sends or receives them.

This idea sounds a little complicated, but it's pretty simple to implement. You can get this extra layer of protection for free.

And if you're really worried about staying safe, you should use a VPN.

Encrypted letters

Surprisingly, email services such as Gmail and Yahoo do not provide end-to-end encryption. Some critics say this is because large data companies want to be able to read your posts.

However, everything is much simpler: end-to-end encryption is difficult to implement. This requires the participation of all correspondents. For example, if your email uses encryption, but mine does not, the process is not end-to-end. At some point, your message will be vulnerable.

On the subject: 9 ways to protect money and data when traveling

For enterprises and organizations that require strong security measures, or for careful individual users, there are mail services that provide end-to-end encryption. Each has its own loopholes and weaknesses, but if you connect your entire network, these platforms can theoretically protect the entire email chain.

Here are some services known for their encryption capabilities that will help make your email and text messages more secure.

Protonmail

This service has attracted widespread attention through end-to-end encryption and has become a popular option for users who want absolute privacy. The company is based in Switzerland, a country known for its privacy standards, and its servers are literally buried underground.

There is a limited free version and a more reliable paid version. You can use this service for the domain of your site. The company is proud that even they, developers, cannot read your emails.

Mailfence

This Belgian company relies on security using the “keys” that you can share with proxies. The good news is that you have the option of exchanging ultra-secure emails with other Mailfence users. The bad news is, you cannot send end-to-end encrypted messages to people who do not use this service.

Tutanota

You can provide end-to-end encryption between one Tutanota user and another, and also create secure passwords for viewing messages sent by Tutanota on other services such as Gmail.

SCRYPTmail

This service is similar to others, except that it can provide false email addresses, which makes it difficult for the recipient (or hacker) to receive information about who sent the message. Of course, this is unpleasant, but at the same time, the service protects your email from abusive responses.

Hushmail

Hushmail, created in Canada in 1998, has long been engaged in private email. Like Mailfence, Hushmail uses keys to exchange with others. Many of Hushmail's innovative features are pretty standard these days, but the service remains as reliable as before.

Microsoft Outlook

Yes, the popular email service has developed end-to-end encryption — you just need to change the settings to use it. Outlook will analyze your email for confidential information, but more interestingly, Outlook can prevent the recipient from copying or forwarding your emails.

On the subject: How to protect your personal data for free

Encrypted Messaging Applications

Text messaging has evolved rapidly in recent years, and smartphones are capable of supporting a wide range of messaging services — some of which provide end-to-end encryption, like email.

There are many services available for low-cost or free messages that provide a decent level of security. The three largest are Signal Private Messenger, Apple's Messages app (if you have an iPhone), and WhatsApp. You can also watch Silence, Silent Phone, Telegram, Wire, Dust or Cyphr and others.

Signal Private Messenger

As the name suggests, Signal Private Messenger is clearly intended for covert communication. The developer, Open Whisper Systems, has been recognized by security experts and cryptographers. This system is available for Apple and Android devices, as well as for desktop computers.

All messages are encrypted with end-to-end encryption. You can set a timer for messages so that they are automatically deleted. Moreover, the messenger is open source; neither your corporation nor the remote server on which it is stored is a threat to your data.

Signal can be downloaded and used for free, whether you purchase it from the Apple App Store or Google Play. You can not only send messages, but also conduct HD video calls with users around the world.

Apple's Messages app

Apple users typically rely on an iOS and macOS application that protects messages and attachments between two Apple gadgets. Therefore, if you send a message from iPhone to a friend’s iPhone (or to his iPad or Macbook), your text will be automatically encrypted. Text messages stored in iCloud are also encrypted if you enable two-factor authentication.

Messages sent to Android users are not encrypted. Android gadgets do not encrypt SMS by default; In this situation, you can use other applications.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp has gained worldwide popularity thanks to the free exchange of text and voice messages. The application is available on various platforms, including computers running Windows and macOS, as well as mobile devices based on Android and iOS.

One downside: WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, which has been criticized in recent years due to privacy issues.

However, WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption between you and other WhatsApp users.

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